Special Ed teacher is San Juan Teacher of the Year
Mar 13, 2018 | 5375 views | 0 0 comments | 954 954 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Debbie Pugh, a Special Education Instructor at Blanding Elementary School, is the 2018 Teacher of the Year for the San Juan School District.

Pugh was honored for her work at a March 5 banquet.

Her supervisors state that Pugh, “has worked tirelessly to advocate not only for students with special needs, but for the classroom teachers in whose classrooms these students spend the majority of their days.

“Debbie provides feedback, invites insights from teachers, and gives significant affirmations to teachers for their efforts.

“She is a trusted and valuable member of each grade level’s team in K-2.

“Despite a high number of students in Special Education, Debbie is organized and advocates for all her students.

“However, with her extensive training, she is able to plan and meet the needs of each of her students with great success.”

Pugh now moves on to the Utah State competition for the Utah Teacher of the Year.

A host of hardworking teachers and employees were honored by the school district for their efforts.

In the District Office, Laura Palmer and Tony Done were honored. 

San Juan High School honorees include Lucy Benally and Jeanna Grover.

The Monticello High School honorees are Shalena Black and Donna Theobald.

Honored for their work at Monument Valley High School are Lahoma Cly and Doug Freed, while Whitehorse High honored Gail Lee and Kim Dee.

Honored at  ARL Middle School are Amanda Black and Dane Worwood, while Blanding Elementary School honorees are Teryl Pugh and Debbie Pugh.

Honored at Bluff Elementary are Wanda Ketchum and Heidi Noyes, while the Monticello Elementary honorees are Marilee Beh and Dawn Torres. 

Montezuma Creek Elementary honored Juanita Becenti and Amanda Buschard, while Tse’bii’nidzisgai Elementary honored Danielle Shirley and Rachael Carver.

San Juan School District Employee Nominees (2018):

Teryl Pugh
Teryl has made significant contributions to Blanding Elementary. He is positive and seriously the hardest worker we have ever seen. He has shown up on Sunday evenings to shovel snow so that we teachers and students can enter school free from the hazards of frozen snow and ice on walkways. He hauls in furniture and builds what is needed at a moment’s notice. He also interacts with students in a positive way and promotes the idea that these are all our students. Teryl is a true example of the value of hard work.

Debbie Pugh
Debbie has worked tirelessly to advocate not only for students with special needs, but for the classroom teachers in whose classrooms these students spend the majority of their days. Debbie provides feedback, invites insights from teachers, and gives significant affirmations to teachers for their efforts. She is a trusted and valuable member of each grade level’s team in K-2. Despite a high number of students in Special Education, Debbie is organized and advocates for all her students. However, with her extensive training, she is able to plan and meet the needs of each her students with great success.

Wanda Ketchum
Wanda is a loving teacher to her students, she encourages them to be respectful to all. She is sweet, friendly, and concerned about the welfare of her students. She loves to laugh and enjoy her students. She greets all, whether its students or other employees with a smile, which helps her build a nice relationship with them. She is great at being prepared and makes learning fun for the kids.

Heidi Noyes
Heidi is devoted to her students as she tirelessly plans and thinks of ways she can motivate them to learn and be active participants. She is an excellent team player, collaborates with all the teachers and is always willing to help her colleagues. Heidi goes out of her way to be a resource for all teachers. This year her math Benchmark scores have been awesome. She is participating in the STEM project this year and taking ESL classes. Heidi has become an amazing teacher and will continue to get even better.

Marilee Beh
Marilee is an exemplary employee. She has a sincere love for children and is passionate about helping them feel successful. She diligently assists children through the learning-to-read process. Marilee volunteered for several years at MES with the “Foster Grandparent Program”, helping several children learn to read. Marilee is dependable, knowledgeable and truly a joy to work with. In her spare time she continues to read with children and even works with the preschool this year. We are very fortunate to have Marilee as a part of our MES team!

Dawn Torres
Dawn is a dedicated educator who has served as a supportive mentor for several years at MES. She is always one of the first to volunteer to support and serve on school and district-level committees, as well as being an active leader on our school community council, PBS, PLC and social leadership teams. Through her innovation and deep understanding of digital practices and platforms, she has been key in the implementation of technology in the early grade classrooms. Dawn is an avid learner and takes advantage of learning opportunities in order to enhance her instruction and engage her students. We are fortunate to have Dawn and her expertise as a part of our MES team!

Juanita Becenti
Juanita is the most helpful person. She is quick, responsive, encouraging, diligent, and friendly. From student checkout, tardies, leave, information, Juanita is the go to person! She is amazing!!

Amanda Bouchard
is arguably the best kindergarten teacher in the state of Utah. Her love of life, new ideas and nature, along with her respect of people’s differences and cultures make her perfect in her position. She has a love of children’s literature and has an impressive collection of Native American Children’s Literature in her library. She has taught children’s literature at the University Level and exposed her adult class to a new genre of Native works for kids. Amanda has the respect of her co-workers and her community.

Danielle Shirley
Danielle is an amazing advocate for students. She is patient, kind, and driven when helping families at TES. She evaluates their needs, develops opportunities for resources, and responds with sensitivity to them. Her ability to communicate directly about sensitive topics while being compassionate has allowed students and families to accept resources to improve their lives. She has been instrumental in the integration of the Navajo culture into school programs like the Unity Club, student recognition, social skill lessons, peacemaking, and the new Hogan at TES. We are so lucky to have such a fun, energetic, and caring student advocate at TES! She is changing the culture of the school and its role in the community.

Rachael Carver
Rachael is a reflective leader who builds strong relationships with staff and students. She advocates for her students, optimizing every resource available to meet their individual needs. She knows how to address crucial issues in leadership teams through effective communication without offending others. She is data-driven and is constantly looking at how to improve her own instruction as well as improving school-wide initiatives. Rachael was instrumental in improving the positive behavior support system at TES. She is a caring teacher, supportive team member, and kind to everyone that enters our building.

Amanda Black
Amanda is a librarian extraordinaire and her influence is seen throughout the whole school. Amanda coordinates with our student service team and helps in community events including our clothing drive, food drive, penny war all to help out students and families of our school. She advises our student council and helps bring fun activities to the school including a kickball tournament, lip sync contest, and talent show. Many great things happen at ARL because Amanda is working tirelessly in the background to ensure that they happen.

Dane Worwood
Dane is an essential part of the ARL faculty. He has a passion for teaching and works hard to provide students with a wide array of learning opportunities. To list a few, he coaches the robotics club, helps students film morning announcements, and has developed and integrated a self-paced curriculum. Through extensive preparation and planning, Dane has developed a yearly CO2 racer project. The students design (with computer software), an eight-inch long dragster. Dane’s dedication to this project makes it a success. He is also patient, kind and respectful toward students and they have a great respect for him in return.

Shalena Black
Shalena is dedicated and professional. She works very hard to help our students at Monticello High School succeed. The teachers love when Shalena is in their class because she helps the students she works with and coordinates with the teachers so well. She is a wonderful part of the Monticello High School team.

Donna Theobald
Donna Theobald has been a concerned and conscientious teacher for twenty years in the San Juan School District. She is very adept at following up with struggling students assigned to her care. Her test scores speak for themselves. Donna does a great job for Monticello High School.

Lahoma Cly
Lahoma is dedicated and a very hard worker. When teachers have a hard time getting work out of students, they call on Lahoma for help. She loves the kids she serves and goes above and beyond to help them be successful. She is also will to take on extra assignments and helps coach extra-curricular activities. She is a huge asset to the school.

Doug Freed
Doug is a positive force in our building. He is a great role model for students as well as fellow teachers. He employs a growth mindset and is always willing to help. He has brought a high level of professionalism to the staff at MVHS and is a huge asset to the Language Arts department. Doug accepts extra assignments and carries them out with success. We are lucky to have him on our team!

Lucy Benally
Lucy began working at SJH in May of 2009. She is the full time custodial aide and is responsible for many areas of the school including the drama room, arena theatre and auditorium. She also handles breakfast and lunch clean up. Lucy is very responsible in her duties over the last 8+ years and is certainly worthy of this years’ award.

Jeanna Grover
Jeanna began working at SJH since 2009 and is currently teaching Business courses. She has been an advisor and assistant to the SJH Royals Drill team for many years. Jeanna also runs the FBLA program and has been very successful with finalists and placed at the state, region and national levels. We are lucky to have Jeanna as part of the SJH Team.

Gail Lee
Gail has been taking care of financial matters at our school in a meticulous manner for 20 years! Her work raises the level of professionalism in our front office. Additionally, parents confidently approach her with requests for help because she is known as a person who will fill a request, help to resolve an issue, or will get additional assistance if needed. Her dependability, even in addressing last minute requests, is amazing. Our school could absolutely not function without her focus, diligence, and commitment.

Kim Dee
Lesson plans, updated gradebook, 6-week maps and assessments, inquiry supplies, journal articles, data analysis, parent contacts, PLC discussions, science fair, guest presenters, recording videos of her teaching, after school tutoring, science equipment, making copies, and attending teacher trainers are all regularly occurring teacher tasks. And yet, Kim Dee has never become overwhelmed. Instead, she continually challenges herself to grow her teaching practices and become ever more effective. In addition to encouraging and helping her colleagues, she remains calm, caring, and empathetic. These turnaround teacher characteristics helped her scholars double their proficiency level, as evidenced on the end of the year test results in Spring 2017!

Laura Palmer
Laura is an amazing administrative assistant. Her experience working in the Special Education Department, the Business Office, and in Human Resources gives her an in-depth understanding of District. She recognizes that at the end of the day our job here revolves around customer service. Laura works tirelessly to ensure that parents, students, community members, and staff needs are met and she does it all with a smile on her face. She plays a key role in helping the District to run smooth on a day to day basis.

Tony Done
One of Tony’s greatest attributes is student advocacy. Since the day he signed on for the San Juan School District he has been an active advocate for students. He has led out on our PBIS team efforts and supported all school in implementing PBIS into their culture and practice. He is a great support to schools with “Tough Kids.” He has a great knowledge and skill set to help schools best build individual support plans when needed in a crisis. In addition, Tony has done an extremely effective job in overseeing our district’s Special Ed Department. Tony is known for getting things done and having fun doing it. Tony is a valued and dedicated employee. Thank you Tony for all you do!!

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